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September 19, 1981 - Image 13

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The Michigan Daily, 1981-09-19
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Page 26-Saturday, September 19, 1981-The Michigan Daily

Friends sometimes question
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The Michigan Daily-Saturday, Sel
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Bo Schembechler believes in defense.
Since he accepted the Michigan
Wolverine head coaching position prior
to the 1969 campaign, excellence in that
phase of the game has been a Maize-
and-Blue trademark.
But never has a Schembechler defen-
sive unit performed at the level that the
1980 one did over the squad's last five
games, during which its opposition
managed a grand total of nine points.
And no enemy ball carrier was able to
carry the football across the Michigan
goal line during the last 22 quarters of.

Keith Bostic -

play. Three hundred, thirty-four
minutes and eight seconds, to be exact.
ONE MUST consider the caliber of
Michigan's opposition downuthe stretch
to get the complete picture, though.
Quarterbacks Tim Clifford of Indiana
and Mark Herrmann of Purdue were
unable toe put any points on the board,
Art Schlichter's Ohio State Buckeyes
struggled for only one field goal, and, to
break Schembechler's Rose Bowl jinx,
the Wolverines only allotted Tom Flick
and the Washington Huskies a pair of
Thus, with the Michigan roster
showing eight returning starters from
that '80 defensive outfit, it is clear why
pre-season pollsters placed the
Wolverines at, or-very near, the num-
ber one spot in the nation.
Closer examination, however, dims
the optimism a bit. While only three
starters have been lost to graduation,
they constituted an important trio.
Linebackers Andy Cannavino and Mel
Owens, and defensive tackle Mike
Trgovac, three of Michigan's top five
leading tacklers last fall (with 168, 100,
and 61 stops, respectively) leave some
big holes to fill.
Schembechler with plenty of reason to
express his standard caution. "They
(the prognosticators) are gonna pick us
on the basis of having eight of our 11
defense(men) back, but it's not the
same defense,".he explained after
completion of the squad's spring prac-
tice program in May.
"(The graduation of) Cannavino and
Owens are astronomical losses. There's
two great players," Schembechler con-
tnue¬Ę - Ceunuiuo'5 -pax astlear, in.

leading the defense, was the best I've
had in 12 years. He got together and got
going. After the third ballgame, he was
a tremendous player. And Owens is a
great athlete. Those two guys are dif-
ficult to replace."
Don't blame opposition coaches if
they decline to shed any tears of sym-
pathy, though. Plenty of talent remains
from the '80 unit, which finished first in
the conference versus the run (allowing
115.1 yards per game), second against
the pass (122.3 yards per contest), and
first in both total (262.4 markers per
game) and scoring (eight points per
outing) defense.
AT THE INSIDE linebacking post
beside Cannavino, Paul Girgash
finished second on the team in tackles
with 114. A 6-1, 205-pound junior who
bench presses 430, he is certain to be.
even more active this season.
"Girgash is a quiet leader," Schem-
bechler commented. "No man-no
n in-puts more into football than Paul
Girgash. Nobody. Not in practice, not in
the games. His heart and soul is in the
game always, anytime you wanna
Sophomore Mike Boren (6-2, 217) and
junior Jim Herrmann (6-2, 212), who
started against California one year ago,
entered the fall in a scramble for Can-
navino's spot at the other inside backer.
Beri Needham, a 6-4, 210-pound senior
who was a starting outside linebacker
two seasons ago, but missed the 1980
campaign after Schembechler suspen-
ded him, could-see action at an inside
spot in'81, as well.
SHOULD NEEDHAM return to the
outside, he would have to battle junior
Mike Lemirande (6-4, 220) and
sophomores Carlton Rose (6-1, 205) and
Rodney Lyles (6-2, 214) foruthe position
vacated by Owens.
On the opposite side of the field roams
6-3, 219-pound fourth-year junior Robert
Thompson. Last season Thompson was
_overshadowed by Cannavino and
Owens, but his 84 tackles placed him
fourth on the squad, and he nailed 15
ball carriers behind the line of scrim-
mage for 50 yards in losses to lead
Michigan in that category.
Schembechler successfully recruited
a large crop of linebacking prospects,
as well, including Detroit's Kevin
Brooks (6-6, 230) and Joe Gray (6-2, 220)
Jim Scarcelli (6-5, 220) from Warren,
Mike Mallory (6-2, 207) and Riley Mc-
Phee (6-2, 225), both out of Illinois,
Ohioan Phil Lewandowski (6-3, 215) and
Maryland native Jeff Akers (6-2, 220).
THE RECRUITING was not as boun-
tiful in the defensive backfield, but that
is not usually a major concern when all
four starters return from a secondary
which yielded only one score through
the air during the conference schedule.
At the corners, senior Brian Carpen-
ter (511, 116) and fourth-year junior
Marion Body (5-10, 178) each picked off
five passes to tie for club leadership.
The latter was hurt through much of the
spring practice session and could be the
only member of the foursome to be sup-
planted for a starting role, with
sophomore Evan Cooper (5-11, 170) and
junior Jerry Burgei(5-11, 182) waiting
impatiently in the wings.
Keith Bostic (6-1, 201), "the best guy
back there," according to Schem-
bechex', returns for his junior year at,

strong safety, and 5-10, 174-pound Tony
Jackson mans the free safety spot.
DESPITE THE secondary's perfor-
mance last fall, Bo sees it as vulnerable
for one reason - only Bostic exceeds
the six-foot, 200-pound mark. "It's a
secondary that, if you wanna play into
their hands, they can gobble you up,"
the coach said. "They're very fast,
they're very quick, they cover well,
they're good - but they're not big."
There is manpower to spare on the
sideline should any of the regulars suf-
fer injury. Fifth-year senior Stu Harris
(6-2, 196), who started at strong safety
in 1979 but was forced out of action by a
knee injury last season, juniors Jeff
Reeves (6-1, 192), John Lott (6-0, 180),-
and Jeff Cohen (5-11, 191) and
sophomore Harry Gosier (6-1, 190) are
all capable of filling in when needed.
Despite being hampered by injury
during much of 1980, Trgovac garnered
second-team All-American honors at
tackle, and how well the Wolverines
compensate for his graduation will be a
key factor this season. Both junior
tackles Winfred Carraway (6-3, 230)
and Cedric Coles (6-2, 237) gained
valuable experience last fall (with five
and three starts, respectively), and
they are the front-runners for the tackle
sive lineman Tony Osbun (6-5, 254) to
defense, and he, along with sophomores
Doug James (6-2, 242) and Dave
Meredith (6-3, 225) and recruit Clay
Miller, a 6-5, 240-pounder out of Barry
Switzer's Norman, -Oklahoma
backyard, will vie for playing time
behind Carraway and Coles.
A void was made in the middle guard
spot with the abrupt dismissal of

lbs.) step
games in
and pla;
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that spot.
"He di(
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Ohio - 6-
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secure p0
a frest
team to a
new schc
yard aver

WOLVERINE SENIOR defensive back Stu Harr
tion. Harris is not a starter in Bo Schembechle
valuable as a reserve. Harris is an example of the
defensive backfield.

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